7 August 2022
Hi! Welcome to Sunday Stealing. This feature originated and published on WTIT:
The Blog. Here we will steal all types of questions from every corner of the
blogosphere. Our promise to you is that we will work hard to find the most
interesting and intelligent questions. (Past hosts include: Our first - Judd
Corizan, Mr. L, Kwizgiver and Bud) Cheers to all of us thieves!
1. What would you like people to know
about your mother?
She was the very first Hospice volunteer in California (the only other Hospice
at that time was one in Florida) and she worked with Hospice as a clerk and in
their store for about 30 years. She was very social and threw a great
party. She was also a great cook and she loved to iron. She even
ironed towels and washcloths. She was an amazing gardener and could make
blossoms bloom on a dry stick. She had a wonderful orchid garden.
2. What would you like people to know about your father?
He was not physically, but emotionally abusive. He had a great sense of
humor and could play the piano by ear, so it wasn't all bad. He also loved
jazz and had a huge collection of jazz records. He was Irish and German but
desperately wanted to be Italian. He was in love with San Francisco, He
wanted to join the navy when younger, but was 4F because of asthma.
3. What was your childhood bedroom like?
We lived in a flat in San Francisco and the bedroom my sister and I shared
would have been the dining room. It had a small clothes closet and built
in shelves. We had beds on opposite sides of the room and it was decorated
with beautiful dolls in boxes which my father built and which hung on the wall, which I
was never allowed to touch.
4. What was your favorite activity as a
Going to the library and then walking home and reading the books I got.
5. What was high school like for you?
I loved high school. I was involved in a lot of activities and
helped the nuns after school. It was a way to be somewhere not my home.
6. Write about your cousins.
I have 32 cousins, but know very few of them
four of these cousins are dead now.
the one who isn't dead has divorced herself from the family
7. What was your favorite food as a child?
Breakfast, hockies (fried bread dough); lunch, a tomato sandwich on soft white
bread; dinner fried
chicken and mashed potatoes
8. What was your most memorable birthday?
I can't remember any particularly memorable birthday but they looked a lot like
this picture of my 10th birthday:
That's me with the glasses in front on the right
9. What world events were significant to
you as a child?
- I don't know why but I remember knowing about a war when I was very small.
I remember my father carrying me up to the roof of our building to see a fire
that was burning somewhere in Fisherman's Wharf and I thought I was watching the
end of the war.
- I remember that it seemed that I was the only kid in schoool who did NOT wear
an "I like Ike" button.
- I remember being very concerned when the Pope Pius XII haad hiccups for several
days. We thought he was going to die.
10. What did a typical day look like as a
It depended on whether or not my father was home. He worked as a railway
mail clerk and was on the train for 3 days and then home for 2 and back on the
train for 3. When he was home, he slept during the day because he didn't
get sleep working all night on the train. We had to be very quiet, so no friends
came over and if someone knocked on the door or rang the doorbell, my father
would be so angry he wouldn't speak to us for the rest of the day. When he was on the road, things were
great and we had a good time with my mother.
11. Write about your grandparents.
My father's parents were in vaudeville and as an adult I am so very sorry they
never discussed it. My grandmother seemed embarrassed to have been on the stage.
We saw them all the time because they had no car and we had to drive them
everywhere. My grandfather was henpecked and very, very quiet; my grandmother was very
My mother's parents were farmers and lived in Inverness on an
acre of land where they raised chickens. I remember picking strawberries
with my grandmother, whom I loved dearly. She always greeted her grandkids
with a big hug and called us her "precious child." I was afraid of my grandfather
because he never spoke. He was bald and had no teeth but could eat corn on
the cob cleanly (never wore false teeth). I remember his showing me baby
chicks one time.
12. Did you move as a child?
No. My parents moved into a San Francisco flat when my mother was
expecting me in 1942 and bought a house when my fifth child was a toddler in
13. Who taught you to drive?
My father. I remember we usually came home from lessons angry with each
other, but I learned how to drive very well.
14. Which job has been your favorite?
I was secretary for 3 professors in the Physics Department at UC Berkeley.
Two of them retired and I ended up being a private secretary for
Fred Reif for several years until Jeri was born. He and I remained
friends until his death in 2019. I typed
the first book he wrote, which is still one of the standard texts in Physics
today, has been translated into many languages and now costs $119 to buy.
15. What was the best part of your 30s?
My 30s were filled with taking care of 5 kids, the oldest of whom was 7 when I
turned 30. My friend Char also had 5 kids and our 30s were full of crazy
things we did with the kids and without the kids, the craziest of which was
our pumpkin pie extravaganza.